Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) is one of two public school systems in Orange County, NC. CHCCS is located near the flagship campus of the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the world renowned Research Triangle Park (RTP). The district operates three high schools, four middle schools, eleven elementary schools, a school for young people being treated at UNC Hospital and an alternative high school. These schools serve more than 12,000 students.
Established in 1909, CHCCS has created a legacy of success for students accompanied by the confidence of our community. A video series of our history has been compiled as well as a detailed timeline of events. Learn more about our history here.
CHCCS is consistently ranked at or near the top of school districts in North Carolina in many academic measures including test performance, graduation rates and SAT/ACT scores. It is also among the highest in per-pupil funding. The district additionally employs over 250 nationally certified teachers.
In 2013, CHCCS embarked on a long-range plan that serves as our roadmap to continued excellence and is based on the Growth Mindset. The plan contains five goals accompanied by 28 strategies. Many of these strategies have been implemented, while others will go into effect in the coming years.
Former Superintendent Dr. Tom Forcella discusses how CHCCS can embrace a growth mindset.
The idea of a “growth mindset” derives from the research of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. In her 2006 book Mindset, Dweck identified two opposing viewpoints about ability: on the one hand, a “fixed” mindset which holds that our talents and abilities are innate; on the other, a “growth” mindset which holds that we develop our abilities through experience and hard work. Most people believe our abilities come from both, to varying degrees – natural talent as well as hard work – but Dweck suggests that people who place more emphasis on the “growth” side tend to be more successful in life.
Dr. Tom Forcella, former Superintendent of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, says that Dweck’s research has significant implications for education. “(This mindset believes) that all children can learn at much higher levels, that intelligence is not stagnant, and that there can be growth – significant growth – of all of our children given the right kind of instruction, with effort on the part of the students, effort on the part of our teachers, and the right amount of time to learn,” he says.
Teachers and administrators are focused on a growth mindset when it comes to the written, taught, and assessed curriculum. The most important curriculum is the ‘understood curriculum’ or what students are able to do with the key skills, concepts, and content. Having a growth mindset changes the way teachers and students view education and student understanding. Learn more about how we design curriculum at CHCCS.